UN Commission Finds Crimes Against Humanity in Sudan; Urges International Court Action
A United Nations-appointed commission released a report earlier this week that found that the pattern of atrocities in the Sudan did not constitute acts of genocide committed by the government, but instead found the government guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes. The commission is urging the Security Council to refer the case to the International Criminal Court (ICC), instead of an ad hoc tribunal like the United States is proposing. While the commission did not find evidence of an organized governmental act of genocide, it did state that it is up to a competent court to decide if there is evidence of government officials committing acts with “genocidal intent.”
The commission’s report documents atrocities committed primarily against Darfur’s black African tribes. The commission charged the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed (Arab militia) of committing murder, torture, kidnapping, rape, forced displacement and the destruction of villages, reports the Washington Post. More than 70,000 people have been killed due to the violence and more than 1.8 million have been driven from their homes.
The United Nations, European governments, human rights and women’s rights advocates want the case in Darfur to be brought before the ICC. The ICC identifies gender crimes as crimes against humanity. Ninety-four countries have fully ratified the treaty establishing the ICC. The United States is currently the only industrialized country that has not signed the treaty due to its fear that Americans could be tried before it.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .